The question we posed to Korean American students in this issue of Yisei was, "Who are your role models?"
In her feature essay, "Our Lack of Role Models," Najin Lee í96 suggests that Korean Americans for the most part do not have visible role models in politics or in popular culture because they have grown complacent with their situation in American society. Christine Choy, the chair of NYUís graduate department of film, states in an interview conducted by Kay Kim í96 that Asian Americans do indeed have a long way to go before they are properly represented in television and film. If there arenít any Korean American role models in the media, who do we turn to? Who will stand up for the community as a symbol of direction and as a voice against oppression?
Perhaps we should heed the advice offered by Riva Kim Ď98ís mother in "Sisters" and avoid taking for granted the importance of having a strong family; all three student role models profiled in this issue, for instance, have expressed gratitude to their parents for having helped shape them into the leaders they are today. Paul Kim í96, one of the organizers of KASCON IX, admires his fatherís vision. Hyewon Chong í95 hopes to be a voice for the "voiceless people of color and poverty" as a political activist and claims that her sense of social justice is rooted in the value of humanitarianism her parents taught her. Kyu Hyun Kim, a graduate student in the Social Studies and East Asian Studies departments, thanks his mother for instilling in him the open-mindedness with which he approaches his research. For now, it is clear that the second generation can turn to the unsung heroes of the first for support and inspiration. In the future, we will no doubt address the theme of this semesterís issue once more, as role models who will make an impact on the next generation are currently in the making.
Finally, the staff of Yisei would like to thank Professor Nahmi Kim Wagner, who is retiring this year, for her many years of dedicated teaching of the Korean language at Harvard University. We wish her happiness, fulfillment, and the best of luck in all her future endeavors.
Kevin J. Cho í95